The Challenge of Age Spot Treatments

By Wendy Wells, NMD.

Age spots, also known as, "hyper pigmentation," are a common skin condition present in all skin types. However, age spots are most evident in darker colored skin. Inflammation, or injury, can immediately result in the alteration of pigmentation, such as hyper pigmentation over darkening, or hypo pigmentation under darkening.

Post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation, or darkened age spots, can occur in skin conditions such as:

Treatments can be challenging when attempting to reduce age spots without turing the skin to white or producing irritation in the surrounding area. Source: Semin Cutan Med Surgery. 2011 Sep;30(3):171-5. PMID:21925372

Topical Vitamin C and E

In 2012, the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology published evidence how topical Vitamin C can treat age spots occuring from sun overexposure. Skin treatment effects were shown using a 24% solution of Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic acid) with iontophoresis. Iontophoresis is used as a penetration enhancer helping to prevent the oxidation of topical vitamin C. The study represented 20 participants, where sixteen of those participants showed a 2-3 grade improvement of pigmentation, surface roughness, and fine wrinkle lines. The researchers concluded that topical vitamin C (L-Ascorbic acid) is safe and effective for the treatment and removal of age spots. Source: Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2012;11(1):51-56. PMID:22206077

Earlier in the 2011 Journal of Cosmetology and Dermatology, a randomized controlled study was pubished evaluating the depigmenting activity of ascorbic acid plus phytic acid on age spots (solar lentigines). Reserchers found this treatment worked well with little side effects. PMID:22151934

Topical Antioxidants

Researchers from the University of Milan provided clinical evidence of a photo-protective effect of topical antioxidants vitamin E and A.

The Journal of Europe's Academy of Dermatology and Venereology published their work the September 2011 issue showing topical antioxidants can provide a photo-protective effect for treatment of age spots.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that was among the first recognized. This study suggests that Vitamin A tocotrienols have superior effect over Vitamin E tocopherols. Vitamin A has become well-established in dermatology for its actions, including it's ability to absorb ultraviolet radiation. The clinical results of the study:

"Pre-treatment with the vitamin E formulation highly protects against photosensitivity. Significantly lower reactions to irradiation in the areas treated with the topical vitamin E formulation, compared to those treated with a placebo or vitamin A."

Researchers concluded how the topical application which contain significant concentrations of Vitamin A tocotrienols and Vitamin E tocopherols represents an effective new approach to reducing photo-induced skin damage. PMID:21917024

In January 2014, Biomolecules & Therapeutics journal published evidence presenting the antioxident resveratrol as a depigmentation agent in ultraviolet B-induced skin disorders such as hyperpigmentation and skin photo-aging. PMID:24596619

Age Spot Removal Folk Remedies

Many treatments over the years have been reported, however, check with pubmed.gov for researched evidence, effectiveness, and safety concerns.




Wendy Wells

Author Wendy Wells is a licensed naturopathic physician in the state of Arizona.
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Kristina Kelly Photo

Skin Care Topics include age spot removal, acne remedies, skin cancer, and dry skin remedies.